Write Real Estate Ads That Sell

With so many homes on offer, how do you ensure that your listings attract attention? You need a sales advertisement that demands to be read, whether it’s listed on the internet, in a newspaper, in a window display or on a For Sale sign. Here are the top ten tips for writing sales advertisements that sell.

Top 10 tips for writing sales advertisements that sell

Tip #1 Avoid clichés

Buyers who are struggling to find a great home in their price range will be frustrated by and quickly tire of clichés. There is nothing more unappealing to a buyer than the overused headlines Location, Location, Location or Investors and First Home Buyers Only. Why not turn these clichés into a memorable phrase that sparks interest. You could try Location, Location, Location = Parkinson, Parkinson, Parkinson or Shhh! Keep this bargain a secret. If you create a new way of approaching an old saying then you can use clichés to your advantage by capitalising on their inherent familiarity to buyers. But be wary of using too many cute sayings and witty asides. In particular, by stating that one of your vendors is Ready to sell now!!! you imply that the rest are not.

Tip # 2 Link the heading to the body of the ad

It’s ineffective and confusing to write an attention-seeking headline like No Need To Fly To Bali… when you fail to connect the rest of the advertisement back to this key feature. You should explain in the first sentence of the ad body that the home offers a tropical and secluded pool and spa area. This explicitly states that buyers don’t need to make the trip overseas to relax as they can holiday in their own backyard. Catchy headlines should always make sense within the context of the advertisement.

Tip # 3 Don’t oversell the home

There’s little to be gained from including superfluous adjectives to describe a home that clearly does not live up to these words. Buyers instantly gauge the state of a home from the photographs, and if you exaggerate the features of a home you will lose their trust just as quickly. Neither prospective buyers nor your vendors will be pleased with this strategy. It is far more effective to keep such advertisements simple, and make the most of what you’ve got. Sell what’s redeeming about the home, such as its proximity to schools or quiet cul-de-sac location.

Tip # 4 Never make a fool of your buyers

It’s common knowledge that the general public has little faith in the trustworthiness of real estate agents. Therefore, it’s best not to further malign your profession by headlining an ad Convenient! So close to transport! when in reality there’s a train line half a metre from the home’s back fence. It’s always best to be upfront with buyers in the first instance as this saves you the time and effort of holding inspections with disgruntled buyers who are extremely disappointed when they see the home. Why not turn a negative into a positive and be upfront about the home’s location, focusing on the list price and the opportunity for buyers to get their money’s worth.

Tip # 5 Use photos to your advantage

No matter how well-written your advertisement is, without photographs you will still have a hard sell on your hands. If your heading is The view to impress your friends then ensure the first photo buyers see is of this stunning view. When your introductory paragraph is a description of the spacious rumpus with built-in bar, then utilise a photograph of this room either as the feature, or the first photo after the main. Consider the way in which the text and photographs complement each other; this ensures you can confidently present buyers with the complete package. The text describes how wonderful the home is, in turn, the accompanying photos prove it.

Tip # 6 Mix it up

After scrolling through pages of advertisements, buyers may feel that every home, and every advertisement, looks the same. So make the effort to stand out. Use lists, bullet points, headings and varying paragraph lengths and structures to add variety and interest to your advertisements. A clever strategy when you don’t have the time to create a full advertisement in paragraph form is to use the heading 5 Reasons To Buy This Home and then write one numbered sentence for each of the home’s top five features i.e. location, layout, room size, pool/patio area and side access. You don’t have to write 200 words about a home to sell it; you can demonstrate the key points quickly and simply if appropriate.

Tip # 7 Think about structure

Regardless of how interested a buyer is in a home, they will struggle to read all the way through to the end of an advertisement if it is not structured correctly. One of the most frustrating advertisements for buyers to read is an ad that consists of one long sentence. This is often a 150-word list of features, separated by commas – if they’re lucky. Constructing individual sentences and paragraphs really isn’t that difficult, and if you want to list features, then do so. Bullet points are an effective method of displaying features, while ensuring an advertisement is easy to read.

Tip # 8 Check your facts

There is nothing more galling to a buyer than to read a lavish description of the convenience of the double basin in the master ensuite when the accompanying photograph clearly shows a single basin. You should check your facts, and ensure you are writing an accurate advertisement that correctly represents the home. Buyers and vendors need to trust you as an agent, and any inaccuracies in an advertisement can quickly diminish your reputation.

Tip # 9 Get them hooked

If you describe every single feature of the home in minute detail, then you may have written a comprehensive advertisement, but have you left any surprises? When all is revealed in the advertisement then buyers will see nothing new at the open house, and they may be disappointed. It’s always a more effective selling tool when buyers are pleasantly surprised at an open house, rather than feeling let down. Leave one or two stunning features unsaid, and give your buyers a ‘wow’ factor when they inspect.

Tip # 10 Proofread

The final and most essential tip. Spelling and grammar are very important. Think about it. If you can’t write a sales advertisement without a handful of errors, then why would someone put their faith in you to negotiate the purchase of their new home? First impressions count, and spelling or grammatical errors are something that buyers (and prospective vendors) will remember. Not a strong speller? Use a dictionary or computer spell-check, and ask a colleague to read over your advertisement to ensure you haven’t missed anything. While you’re proofreading, look out for exclamation points. Any more than one in an advertisement is overuse. If you end every sentence with one (or more) exclamation points, they lose their power. Save your exclamation point for the point that really matters.

Follow these tips and you’ll be writing advertisements that draw the reader’s eye, reveal enough information to get them hooked and add that something special that ensures buyers remember this home more than all the others. If there are 100+ matches for a buyer’s price range then your listings need to be the ones with a catchy heading, compelling opening paragraph and text that accentuates the photographs.

Remember, it’s not just buyers that you are out to impress. Prospective vendors will do their research and look at real estate websites to gauge the presence of agents. It makes good business sense to demonstrate right from the outset that you have the skills to market their home with an advertisement that is specifically targeted towards getting the sale.

It’s easy to make the argument that good, well-priced homes will always sell, regardless of the quality of the advertisement. That may be true, but writing a poor quality advertisement does not reflect your professionalism. When you’re out to impress every prospective buyer and vendor in the market, a one sentence ad with errors will not do you justice. After all, if you are neglectful in this area of marketing, then where else might you let them down? It’s not just one commission on the line – it’s your reputation as well.

Trudi Plaschke is a copywriter who works at Allen & Lee Real Estate, an independent real estate office in Coopers Plains, Queensland. A degree-qualified and experienced writer, Trudi’s recent publications include “Make Writing Work For You” in the August edition of Writing Queensland and “The Woolley Wool Ban” in February’s South Australian Genealogist. Check out Trudi’s copywriting for or e-mail

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